Thursday, May 26, 2016

"No One Can Love You More Than Me" by Melissa Manchester

Song#:  1669
Date:  10/29/1983
Debut:  91
Peak:  78
Weeks:  4
Genre: Synthpop

Pop Bits:  A younger generation of music fans got to know Manchester through her 1982 Grammy-winning pop/dance hit "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," a song that was a step outside of the more adult-oriented tunes she was known for. Since it worked out so well, then obviously that is the type of music she should be making, right? So her label, Arista (aka Clive Davis), thought it best to keep pushing her down the dance diva road in order to keep Manchester's star bright and albums selling. Following a Greatest Hits package, her next LP, Emergency, was loaded with synthpop tracks that were geared to keep fans of "You Should" on board. This first single was issued, but it just didn't captivate listeners and it died off quickly after a month on the Pop chart (and #34 AC). A second single failed to reach any chart and that put the album in a tailspin. It was a definitive crash and burn and it brought to an end Manchester's days at Arista where she had been since her 1975 breakthrough album Melissa.

ReduxReview:  Here's the thing. I can see both side in this situation. I can understand where the label needed their artists to have hits in order to make money. Whether artists like it or not, once on a label, they are product. On the other hand, I can see how an artist would want to maintain control over their career and direction. It's a fine line. But in Manchester's case, while it was great to have a hit and a Grammy, she wasn't all that thrilled with doing the song in the first place and taking her career in that direction (it was all a fluke in my opinion anyway). So when it worked, of course the label would want more and I think they pushed her towards a sound/genre that was never in her wheelhouse. Here's an interesting fact - on her 1975 #12 album Melissa, she co-wrote nine out of the ten songs. On Emergency, three of ten. And the results speak for themselves. Arista pretty much sucked the musical life out of Manchester and it showed. What a waste. However, it all wasn't a complete loss. Along the way there were a few minor bright spots and this one had a little glimmer of life to it. Co-written by Terry Britten (of "What's Love Got to Do with It" fame) and Billy Livsey, it's actually a pretty good tune. I don't think it was catchy or memorable enough to really be a single (especially with the awkward title), but the song is one of Manchester's better efforts during this dreary phase of her career.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Manchester's reluctance to record "You Should Hear" wasn't the first time she had an issue with one of her hits. In 1978, Clive Davis heard tracks for Manchester's upcoming album that she titled Caravan. He didn't think there was a definitive hit to anchor the LP and that one was necessary. According to the song's producer, Harry Maslin, he was assigned to do the song "Don't Cry Out Loud" from Davis and get Manchester to record it. Apparently, she hated the song and was mad that she was forced to do it. However, from Manchester's angle, she was the one who brought the song to Davis. Co-written by Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager, Allen had done a gentle and subdued version of the song for an album and Manchester wanted to cover the tune in a similar fashion. Davis agreed that it would be great and a plan was set. However, when Manchester walked into the studio to do her vocal, the track had been rearranged and produced into an epic big ballad and Manchester was livid. Like she would later with "You Should Hear," she reluctantly went ahead and recorded the song. Clive then also renamed the album after the track despite Manchester's objections. The song was issued as a single and it hit #10 while the album went to #33.


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